Uganda: MPs Detained Over Arua Poll Chaos Were Armed, Say Police

Uganda map.

Kampala — Police have said four Members of Parliament arrested over the chaos on Monday, the last day of campaigns for the Arua Municipality by-election, had guns.

Lawmakers arrested in Arua but detained in Gulu include Robert Kyagulanyi, aka, Bobi Wine (Kyadondo East), Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality), Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality) and Paul Mwiru (Jinja Municipality).

Former Makindye East representative Mike Mabikke and Independent candidate Kassiano Wadri, for whom they went to drum up support, were arrested alongside two journalists and more than two dozen other suspects.

The arrests followed confrontations between security forces and Opposition supporters late on Monday in which Bobi Wine's driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead and six others sustained gunshot wounds.

Addressing a press conference at police headquarters in Naguru, Kampala, yesterday, the spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, said they are investigating the blood spills.

"We cannot conclude on who shot Yasin Kawuma [dead], because the legislators we have in our cells also had weapons," Mr Kayima said in reference to a question on whether police had arrested the suspected killer.

Murder probe

He did not specify the type of guns retrieved from the MPs and neither did he say if police licensed them to carry guns.

The Monday melee, the spokesman said, is being investigated to "understand who shot him (Kawuma)".

Detectives have preferred charges of obstruction and malicious damage [to property] against the lawmakers and their co-accused.

Security forces roughed up journalists Herbert Zziwa and Ronald Muwanga, who work with our sister television station, NTV, as they reported live on the shooting of Kawuma.

Police released the duo on bond yesterday after preferring against them charges of incitement to violence and malicious damage [to property].

Mr Kayima said Bobi Wine, Mr Wadri and their co-accused orchestrated violence in Arua Town in which President Museveni's motorcade was stoned as it returned from the last campaigns for NRM flag bearer Nusura Tiperu.

"Supporters of candidate Kassiano Wadri with imported support groups led by MPs Kyagulanyi, Zaake, Mwiru, Karuhanga and Mabikke obstructed and violently attacked the presidential motorcade at Prison Cell, Arua Municipality, during which one of the vehicles bearing the presidential coat of arms [number plate] had its hind screen smashed," he said.

Mr Kayima said security officers fired bullets and lobbed teargas canisters to prevent the situation from degenerating.

Police impounded Bobi Wine's car in which Kawuma was shot and a grader that Opposition supporters allegedly used to block the President's convoy. Both vehicles have been towed to Arua Central Police Station.

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